The italian coach of Lotos Trefl Gdansk Andrea Anastasi showed his disagreement about the new system of the polish national league, calling it “the league for the richest”. – They simply killed the possibility of any team that could finish the regular season on 3rd,4th, 5th or 6th place to dream of the final.

The new system cancels playoffs and final standing will be set according to the regular season table. First two teams will play for the gold medal, 3rd and 4th for the bronze. The reason why the system has been changed are The Olympic Games 2016. Polish National Team still isn’t sure on their attendance in the most important volleyball tournament. After losing their chance for the olympic ticket during the The World Cup, they have to face one more qualification tournament in january 2016. The calendar is short and there is way too many games that need to be played. – I am not against the idea of playing many games – pointed out Anastasi. – This is great for our supporters, for our amazing sport to grow and develop, but we can’t base final standing on the regular season performance.

The italian coach couldn’t believe that none of the other clubs publicly disagreed with the system. – Is it only me that thinks the season is interesting when there are surprises? When teams like Lotos or Lubin or Warszawa make it to the final? – asked Anastasi. He admitted that his way of understanding volleyball is to grow physically but also mentally during the season to deliver the best performance at the end.- Do we just want to play boring competitions where only the strongest teams with equally strong bench are able to play so many games without any impact on their performance? – he asked again.

Why the last European Championships were interesting and brought even more people to watch the final? – asked Anastasi.Because Slovenia surprised all the volleyball world, like Spain did in 2007. The unexpected makes it more exciting. Last season people were saying that the PlusLiga became more interesting because my team surprised the country by beating the big Skra Belchatow in the semifinal. According to the new system we wouldn’t be even able to play in the semifinal because we finished the regular season on the 3rd position.

Anastasi also confessed that he is under the impression that the new system will bring down not only the amount of people attending the games at the end of the season but also will have a huge impact on the marketing part of the sport. – Where did the idea of increasing the number of people in volleyball arenas disappear? Do they think that fans will be interesting to attend a game where the team doesn’t have any chance to try get to the medal zone? What will happen when four or five games before the end of the regular season, the team would know that despite being 5th or 6th, they can’t do nothing apart from fighting for the 5th position? Do people really think that a player who was playing 12 games a month for 4 months in a row will be interesting to compete for the 5th or 7th position? What for? To play CEV Cup or Challenge? These are not just empty rhetorics, these are serious questions someone should answer. – says Anastasi.

Anastasi also brought to the attention the danger of how will the new system work from the psychological point of view. – Nobody seems to be thinking about the difference in determination, enthusiasm and motivation any player would have, by knowing that even finishing 4th or 5th he still can improve his performance to potentially be able to compete against better team. In comparison to that, this season we are putting ourselves in the position where finishing 5th won’t give us nothing and simply kills the team spirit.

However the italian coach has an idea how to make the difficult calendar a bit more interesting for the fans and the players. – How much better would be if we made quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final within one week, like a normal tournament. One game each, you win or lose, but at least every team that arrives in positions 1-8 can dream of the final. You don’t kill the spirit and the belief that anyone can achieve better. Not by telling us that the final position will depend on how we play during four months of the regular season. There is so many games, that like i said, only teams that have money and can build two equal teams, are able to stay strong. And that’s why i stand by what i have said before, that this year system supports only teams with a huge budget. – he finished.

Anna Wiecek